Helen Darbishire's Transcription of MS JJ

(The Prelude Rev. ed., 1959)

Last page Z recto

Was it for this

That one, the fairest of all rivers loved

To blend his murmurs with my nurse’s song

And from his alder shades and rocky falls

And from his fords and shallows sent a voice

To intertwine my dreams, for this didst thou

O Derwent travelling over the green plains

[Give ceaseless music to the]

Near my sweet birthplace [to the night & day]

didst thou beauteous stream

Give ceaseless music to the night & day

Which with its steady cadence tempering

Our human waywardness compose(d) my thought

To more than infant softness giving me

Amid the fretful [tenements of man] dwellings of mankind

A knowledge, a dim earnest of the calm

That Nature breathes among her woodland [haunts?]

Was it for this [for these perhaps] & now I speak of things

[That have been & that are, no gentle (dreams?)]

Complacent fashioned fondly to adorn

The time [years] of unrememberable being

Was it for this that I a four years child

[Beneath thy scars & in] A naked boy among thy silent

pools

Made one long bathing of a summers day

Basked in the sun or plunged into thy stream

Alternate all a summers day, or coursd

Over the sandy [plains] fields & dashed the flowers

Of yellow grundsel or when the hill tops

The woods & all the [distant] glorious mountains

Were bronzed with a deep radiance stood alone

A naked savage in the thunder shower

[For this] Nor less in springtime when on southern banks

The shining sun had from [his] its knot of leaves

Decoyed the primrose flower and when the vales

And woods were warm was I a rover then

In the high places, on the [lonely] lonesome peaks

Among the mountains & the winds. Though mean

And though inglorious were my views the end

Was not ignoble. Oh when I have hung

Above the ravens nest, have hung alone

By half inch fissures in the slippery rock

But ill sustained and almost as it seemed

Suspended by the [wind] blast which blew amain

[Against] Shouldering the naked cragg ah then

X verso

With what strange utterance did the [loud dry] wind

Blow through my ears

the colours of the sky

the sky was [then no sky?]

Of earth & with what motion move[d] the cloud[s]

As on the perilous [brink] cliff

While on the perilous [edge] [ridge] cliff I hung alone

With what strange utterance did the loud dry wind

Blow through my ears the sky seemd not a sky

Of earth, and with what motion moved the clouds

Ah not in vain ye beings of the hills

And ye that walk the woods and open heaths

By moon or starlight thus from my first dawn

Of childhood did ye love to interweave

The passions

Not with the mean & vullgar works of man

But with high objects with eternal things

With life & nature, purifying thus

The elements of feeling & of thought

Y recto

And sanctifying by such discipline

Both pain & fear untill we recognize

A grandeur in the beatings of the heart.

Ah! not [in vain] for this ye spirits of the springs

{familiars of the clouds }

And ye that are {have your voices in the clouds}

Through pleasant da(ys?)

Through snow & sunshine & through rain & storm

Did ye with such assiduous love pursue

Your favourite & your joy did ye delight

[Thus by the agency of boyish sports

To fix upon the streams the woods the hills

To fix upon all forms the character

Of danger & desire & so to [make?]

The surface of the universal earth

With meanings of delight of home and fear

[Nor belike a]

A vullgar hope was yours when [ye employed]

Such ministry not vainly for ye [know?]

W recto

The mountains & the fluctuating hills

Ye powers of earth

Ah not in vain ye spirits of the springs

And ye that have your voices in the clouds

And ye that are familiars of the lakes

And standing pools, ah not for trivial ends

Through snow & sunshine & through [rain and storm]

the sparkling plains

Of moonlight frost and through the stormy [day?]

Did ye with such assiduous love pursue

W verso

Your favourite and your joy.

I may not think

A vulgar hope was your’s when ye employed

Such ministry when ye through many a year

Thus by the agency of boyish sports

[Impressd upon the streams the woods the hills

Impressed upon all forms the character

Of danger or desire and thus did make

The surface of the universal earth

With meanings of delight of hope & fear

Work like a sea. –

For this when on the witherd mountain slope

The frost and breath of frosty wind had snapped

The last autumnal crocus did I love

To range [wander] through half the night among the cliffs

And the smooth hollows where the woodcocks ran

Along the moonlight turf. In thought and wish

That time my shoulder all with springes hung

I was a fell destroyer

Gentle powers,

Who give us happiness, & call it peace

X recto

When [running] scudding on from snare to snare I plied

My anxious visitation hurrying on

Still hurrying hurrying onward, how my heart

panted: among the lonely eugh trees & the crags

That looked upon me how my bosom beat

With hope & fear [expectation]. And sometimes strong

desire

Resistless over came me & the bird

Th[at] was the captive of another’s toils

Became my prey, and [then] [when the deed] I heard

I heard among the solitary hills

Low breathings coming after me and sounds

Of undistinguishable motion steps

Almost as silent as the turf they trod

94

U recto

Nor while, thou(gh) doubting yet not lost I tread

The mazes of this argument, and paint

How Nature by collateral interest

And by extrinsic passion peopled first

My mind with beauteous objects may I well

Forget what might demand a loftier song

For oft th'eternal spirit, he that has

His life in unimaginable things

And he who painting what he is in all

The visible imagery of all the worlds

Is yet apparent chiefly as the soul

Of our first sympathies – Oh bounteous power

In childhood, in rememberable days

How often did thy love renew for me

Those naked feelings which when thou wouldst form

A living thing thou sendest like a breeze

Into its infant being. Soul of things

U verso

How often did thy love renew for me

Those hallowed & pure motions of the sense

Which seem in their simplicity to own

An intellectual charm: that calm delight

Which if I err not surely must belong

To those first born affinities which fit

Our new existence to existing things

And in our dawn of being constitute

The bond of union betwixt life & joy.

Yes, I remember when the changeful earth

And twice five seasons on my mind had stamped

The faces of the [changeful] moving year, even then,

A child I held unconscious intercourse

With the eternal beauty drinking in

A pure organic pleasure from the lines

Of curling mist or from the smooth expanse

Of waters coloured by the [cloudless moon] clouds of

heaven

V recto

The sands of Westmorland the creeks & bays

Of Cumbria’s rocky limits they can tell

How when the sea threw off his evening shade

And to the shepherds hut beneath the craggs

Did send sweet notice of the rising moon

How I have stood to images like these

A stranger linking with the spectacle

No body of associated forms . . .

And bearing with [me?] no peculiar sense

Of quietness or peace yet I have stood

Even while my eye has moved o'er three long leagues

Of shining water, gathering as it seemed

[ ]

New pleasure like a bee among the flowers –

Nor unsubservient even to noblest ends

Are these primordial feelings how serene

How calm those seem amid the swell

Of human passion even yet I feel

Their tranquillizing power

Margin of U verso

for often-times

In that tempestuous season I have felt

Even in that [ blank left] & tempestuous time

Margin of U recto

How while I ran wher'eer the (working?) heat

Of passion drove me at that thoughtless time

A power unknown would open out the clouds

As with the touch of lightning seeking me

With gentle visitation [then unknown?]

T verso

Nor in that thoughtless season [ ? ]

That [purer] other pleasures have been mine

And joys of purer origin for oft

[While?] thus I wander'd doubting

Yes there are genii which when they would form

[A favour'd spirit] open out the clouds

As with the touch of lightning seeking him

With gentle visitation. Others use

[Less homely?] interference ministry

Of grosser kind & of their school was I

Though haply aiming at the selfsame end

And made me love them

S verso

I went alone into a shepherd’s boat

A skiff which to a willow tree was tied

With [ blank left ] it(s) usual home

The moon was up the lake was shining clear

Among the hoary mountains: from the shore

I push'd and struck the oars and struck again

In cadence and my little boat moved on

Just like a man who walks with stately step

Though bent on speed. A rocky steep uprose

Above the cavern of the willow-tree

[so as fitted?]

And as beseemed a man who proudly rowed

With his best speed I fixd a steady view

Upon the top of that same shaggy ridge

The bound of the horizon for behind

Was nothing but the stars & the grey sky.

She was an elfin pinnace, twenty times

I dipp'd my oars into the silent lake

And (as) I rose upon the stroke my boat

Went heaving through the water like a swan

It was an act of stealth

And troubled pleasure not without the voice

Of mountain echoes did my boat move on

Leaving behind (her) still on either side

Small circles glittering idly in the moon

Until they melted all into one track

T recto

Of sparkling light

When from behind that rocky steep till then

The bound of the horizon just between

The summit & the stars a huge high cliff

As if with voluntary power instinct

Upreared its head I struck & struck again

And growing still (in) stature the huge (cliff)

Rose up between me and the stars & still

With measured motion like a living thing

Strode after (me)

Rose up between me & the stars & still

With measured motion like a living thing

Strode after me. Unusual was the power

Of that strange spectacle for many days

There was a darkness in my thoughts no show

Of usual objects images of trees

Of sea or sky no colours of green fields

But huge and mighty forms that do not live

Like living men [ blank left ]

By day and were the trouble of my dreams

Working with an undetermined sense

Of unknown modes of being

and [ as before?] the solitary cliff

Rose up between me & the

T verso

with trembling hands I turn'd

And through the silent water stole my way

Back to the cavern of the willow

And to my [ age] in

S recto

There was a boy ye knew him well, ye rocks

And islands of Winander & ye green

Peninsulas of Esthwaite many a time

when the stars began

To move along the edges of the hills

Rising or setting would he stand alone

Beneath the trees or by the glimmering lake

And through his fingers woven in one close knot

Blow mimic hootings to the silent owls

And bid them answer him. And they would shou

Across the watry vale and shout again

Responsive to my call with tremulous sobs

And long halloes & screams & echoes loud

Redoubled & redoubled a wild scene

Of mirth & jocund din. And when it chanced

That pauses of deep silence mocked my skill

Then often, in that silence, while I hung

Listening a sudden shock of mild surprize

Would carry far into my heart the voice

Of mountain torrents: or the visible scene

Would enter unawares into my mind

With all its solemn imagery its rocks

Its woods & that uncertain heaven received

Into the bosom of the steady lake

R verso

When from behind that rocky steep, till then

The bound of the horizon a huge cliff

As if with voluntary power instinct

Uprear'd its head. I struck & struck again

And growing still in stature the huge cliff

Rose up between me and the stars & still

With measured motion like a living thing

Strode after me. With trembling hands I turn'd

And through the silent water stole my way

Back to the willow tree, the mooring place

Of my small [boat] pinnace

{A most unusual power}

{Had} {Unusual was the power}

{Of } that strange sight for many days my brain

Workd with a dim and undetermind sense

Of unknown modes of being in my thought

There was a darkness call it solitude [vacancy]

Or blank desertion no familiar shapes

Of hourly objects images of trees

Of sea or sky no colours of green fields

But huge & mighty forms that do not live

Like living men moved slowly through my mind

By day and were the trouble of my dreams

And straightway through [ ] I went

Though fearless with a grave & serious [mind?]

R recto

The soul of man is fashioned & built up

Just like a strain of music I believe

That there are spirits which when they would form

A favor'd being open out the clouds

As at the touch of lightning

Seeking him with gentle visitation and with such

Though rarely in my wanderings I have held

Communion. Others too there are who use

Yet haply aiming at the selfsame end

Severer interventions, ministry

Of grosser kind, & of their school was I

And oft when on the withered mountain slope

The frost & breath

I have held

Communion with them in my boyish [days?]

Though rarely

P verso

I would not strike a flower

As many a man [would] will strike his horse; at least

If from the wantonness in which we play

With things we love, or from a freak of [power] thought

Or from involuntary act of hand

Or foot unruly with excess of life

It eer should chance that I ungently used

A tuft of [ left blank ] or snapp'd the stem

Of foxglove bending oer his native rill

I should be loth to pass along my road

With unreproved indifference. I would stop

Self questioned, asking wherefor that was done

For seeing little worthy or sublime

In what we blazon with the names [of power

And action] I was early taught to love.

Of power & action I was early taught

Q recto

To love those unassuming things that [occupy?] hold

A silent station in this beauteous world

let [all things have] each thing have

[Their lot of life] Its little lot of life but more than all

The things that live in [?]

Then dearest maiden on whose lap I rest

My head [ ] do not deem that these

Are idle sympathies –

Q verso

Those beauteous colours of my [our] early years [time]

Which make the starting-place of being fair

And worthy of the goal to which they tend

Those hours that cannot die [those] and lovely forms

And sweet sensations which throw back our life

And make our infancy a visible scene

On which the sun is shining

Those recollect(ed) hours that have the charm

Of visionary things –

[ ] islands in the unnavigable depth

Of our departed time

Z verso

[ a gentle inspiration] a mild creative breeze

A vital breeze that passes gently on

Oer things which it hath made and soon becomes

A tempest a redundant energy

That sweeps the waters and the [ ] this power

Creating not but as it may

disturbing things created

a storm not terrible but strong

With lights and shades and with a rushing (power?)

With loveliness and power

trances of thought

And mountings of the mind compared to which

The wind that drives along th' autumnal [leaf?]

Is meekness

what there is

Of subtler feeling of remembered joy

Of soul & spirit in departed sound

That cannot be remembered

a plain of leaves

Whose matted surface spreads for many leagues

A level prospect such as shepherds view

From some high promontory when the sea

Flames, & the sun is setting.

familiars of the lakes & standing [ ]

On the inside of the cover of the book

How often in the silence of the woods

The mountains & the fluctuating hills.